PRESS RELEASE ongoing since JANUARY 2013
EXPEDITION ‘SAHARAN SAUNTER PENDING
Due to current political situation in North Africa we will be putting this forward again once we get stability once more in the regions of Egypt and Libya
Following in the footsteps (or wheel ruts) of the legendary Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) a group of amateur historians are forming up and attempting to mount an expedition into the deep interior of the Saharan Desert.
During WW2 a small and highly mobile reconnaissance unit was formed, in 1940, in the western desert. The group was called the Long Range Patrol (LRP) which was the predecessors of the LRDG. Their first troops came from New Zealand and led by Ralph A Bagnold, their first commander, whom had explored the very same desert some 15 years before as a young officer based in Egypt.
Through hard training, tough regimes and a lot of experience and knowledge of their commanders this group expanded and included UK, Rhodesian, Indian and other Commonwealth troops who patrolled deep, sometimes hundreds of Kms behind the enemy lines. Their missions were to observe, report, map, harass and raid enemy troops, airfields and installations. During this time they worked alongside the SAS and Commandos supporting them, training them and dropping or picking them up in some of the remotest places on the planet.
The Expedition, SAHARAN SAUNTER, has a main objective to relive those times and cover some of the many routes and areas that the LRDG operated within. They are proposing to do this in WW2 vehicles (Jeeps, Trucks) kitted out as a ‘Tommy’ of the time with the same issue of kit (or replicas for hard to get items) using the same scale of rations and water, and navigating the whole route using 1940s maps and Sand Compasses. Perhaps this will be the ultimate living history expedition? Experiencing, as close as possible, the hardships of environment, the expanse of miles and miles of open desert. The only thing we cannot replicate is the Enemy patrols, aircraft and danger that these patrols encountered on a daily basis.
This group has been set up to specifically raise awareness about the conflicts of WW1 and WW2 in the Western Desert, desert travel between those wars and also about the Scottish Home Front. It is hoped that perhaps in the near future that we will become registered as a charity in our own right and be able to offer more to the community and the respective charities that we recognise.
The Expedition plans to leave in convoy from the Citadel in Cairo, one time HQ of the LRDG, now a tourist attraction. Moving across the Egyptian Sand Sea towards Siwa Oases, another LRDG operating base and HQs, before heading NW to the Libyan border crossing (unfortunately due to heavy mining from WW2, and Government restrictions, we cannot go directly W) and then in a SW direction over and out into the Great Sand Sea in Libya. After moving towards many sites and staying at the many check and observation points, the group will loop NNE towards Barce where one of the greatest raids of the LRDG took place. After touring the battlefield/airfield and surrounding areas, we will reform and travel along the coast to Tobruk where they will hold the first memorial parade and wreath laying at the official War Graves of the fallen from all allied troops (It is hoped to link this with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission- but nothing arranged at time of writing). After a short rest the group will head towards the second of their rendezvous’ at El Alamein and a larger parade and short service geared to coincide with ANZAC day (Again contacts and liaison still to be arranged).
SO WHO ARE THIS GROUP?
They are a bunch of amateur historians who like a bit of adventure, ranging from Ex Military, Historians, Real life Adventurers and Explorers, Military Vehicle Owners, a Geography Teacher, Desert Guides, Students of History, Farmers and Expert Mechanics (of almost any vehicle), a Uniform Expert, distinguished Writers, and a Professional Film Crew to name but a few (as there will be a documentary of the whole trip). There are others waiting in the wings and we will be looking at the full Orbat soon. All have an excellent range of skills. Their Biographical information will appear on the Group Website (www.wdrg.org) The group are based in two main geographical areas half a world apart, here in the UK and in New Zealand (where the personnel of the very first LRP hailed from)
In keeping with the Regimental system we have named the group the WW2 Western Desert Recce Group (WDRG) to give some identity and recognition for these gallant men and women.
At present, there are approximately 20 people involved, with an even split between UK and NZ. We are hoping to attract other historians and vehicles from the USofA. (again representative of the American involvement in the desert) There will be Jeeps, Light and Heavy Trucks as well as a modern support vehicle, to allow greater flexibility to the camera crew and attached Libyan Guides.
As it is an enormous logistical operation, just to get all there and back again, it will take a lot of funding and sponsorship. The group are actively trying to attract this through various means and would welcome backers and supporters to be part of this adventure. If anyone is interested in this Expedition and would like to be a major sponsor there will be maximum publicity and use of their logos, links and information on all expedition literature and within the proposed expedition documentary.
We can be contacted via the website at www.wdrg.org or via our personal email addresses
Gary Wallace – Group Expedition Leader UK – Resp for European and USA members
Mobile No 07850 796605 (Glasgow, Scotland,UK)
Bernard Shapiro – Group Joint Leader and Expedition Co-ordinator NZ -Resp for NZ, Far East, Australasia, Pacific
Telephone 0 64 3 9428599 (Intl tel NZ)
For all other information please see website or request through contact details above,
Thank You ,
Gary A Wallace, WDRG